Champions on Display MLB

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Make The Nation's Fear Reality

Lisa Swan of Subway Squawkers and The Faster Times posted a nice piece Red Sox Nation Dreads A Yankee World Series late Wednesday night. She interviewed 10 Red Sox bloggers, including our very own Dave.

Among the things Dave said in the Q&A was: "The Yankees winning again…ugh. The fact that they look like they’ll win is bad enough. The reality of it…ugh."

Music! Sweet Music!

Of course, as Yankees fan, we all know the sweetest thing would for this nightmare scenario for Red Sox Nation to become reality. And in order for that to happen, then Yankees need five more wins, the first of which could come tonight as the Yankee look to finish off the Angels and celebrate as a broken-hearted and despondent Rally Monkey looks on.

A.J. Burnett gets the call tonight. Which A.J. will get tonight -- heck, which A.J. will get from inning-to-inning -- is anybody's guess. But he has been solid enough so far in the postseason, taking two no-decisions in his two starts, but posting a 2.19 ERA. He has, however, walked 10 and hit two batters in 12-1/3 innings.

Control has always been an issue for Burnett in his career (see his no-hitter with nine walks for the Marlins), but he is capable of throw gems and you have to believe that sooner or later he's going to come up with of those absolutely dominant, brilliant starts in playoffs.

Jose Molina, meanwhile, is likely to be back behind the plate, but Joe Girardi is facing a tough choice at DH. In Burnett's previous two starts, Jorge Posada sat as Hideki Matsui remained in the starting lineup at DH.

The numbers indicate Girardi may want to keep Posada's bat in the lineup, even if it means that Posada won't be able to enter the game defensively when Matsui pinch hits for Molina in the sixth or seventh inning.

Against tonight's starter John Lackey, Posada has a career average of .414. Matsui, though, also has had success against Lackey, hitting .344. It's a tough choice.

The other decision that is facing Girardi is whether to leave Nick Swisher in the lineup. Swisher is 3-for-24 (.125) in the playoffs and 2-for-12 (.167) in the ALCS, including several bad at-bats in big situations with runners in scoring position.

It's unlikely that Girardi will sit Swisher for this game, but I would give Brett Gardner a start here. As Alex Rodriguez continues his amazing postseason (11-for-27, 5 HRs, 11 RBI), it's becoming more and more likely that he will see fewer and fewer good pitches to hit. That means production from the bottom of the order become increasingly important. Melky Cabrera proved that in Game 4 with his four RBI on two big hits with RISP.

Yes, Gardner has struggled as a pinch runner in this series, getting caught stealing twice. But he has proven this year that he can handle the bat (.270 batting average) and is 2-for-3 in this series. He'll improve the defense and can provide a spark in the bottom of the lineup.

I'm not saying this should be a permanent switch, but Swisher is struggling so badly that this game provides an opportune time to give him a break. With a day off Wednesday and a travel day Friday if the Yankees don't finish of the Angels tonight, that would give Swisher at least three days with which to step back and rediscover his stroke.

But let's hope the Yankees finish the job tonight and that Swisher can get even more time to get back on track before facing the Phillies in the World Series.

Sorry Joe Torre, you'll have to wait another year for a trip back to the Fall Classic.


Dave said...

God I hope the Phillies beat your ass. :)

Unknown said...

I know you do! Ain't gonna happen!

Lisa Swan said...

Dave, thanks for participating. Your 2012 comment was just hilarious!

And Aviv, thanks for linking to the story.

Dave said...

Lisa, thank you for asking me to help out. I was hoping you'd use that last question.

Unknown said...

Lisa, how could I not link? Great piece!